Most people have played the ‘would you rather?’ game at some point in their lives. One question I have been asked a few times is ‘Would you rather have hands for feet or feet for hands?’ This got me thinking. What if my hands and feet were swapped? Would I be an outcast? Or would my uniqueness attract people?
Hands For Feet
If I had hands for feet
And my legs were really arms
I would cartwheel down the street
And seduce you with my charms
My knitting is awful but my gymnastics are on point
This poem, which shares it’s name with today’s other post, explores another, more positive, view of getting old.
When I Am Old
When I am old, I will walk with a stick
As I walk to the garden, my slippers will flick
And I’ll throw them both off with a spirited kick
And I’ll dance in the sweltering sun
I’ll dance in the sweltering, sweltering sun
As the pools in the garden still, weltering, run
And for all the tree’s leaves, they’ll be sheltering none
I’ll sing loudly and badly, such beltering fun
When I am old, I’ll be jolly and sweet
I’ll be quick in my mind, though I’m slow on my feet
I will read til I’m blind, only death will defeat
As I sit by a crackling fire
I’ll sit by the crackling, crackling fire
A wizened old joker, a cackling liar
Stamping out miserable, tackling dire
Until I’m set free from this shackling attire
When I am old, I’ll have an old, greying dog
People have different perspectives on getting old. Some see it as an inevitable evil at the end of life. A time of misery and suffering. One friend even told me once that they wanted to be euthanised at 50 as it wasn’t worth living any longer! Others see growing old as just another enjoyable chapter in life. A time not to be feared, but welcomed.
Today’s two poems compare the two views of ageing. This first one is a very negative view.
When I Am Old
When I am old, I will wear a flat cap
As I walk to the bathroom, my jowls will flap
And my ankles will break with a sickening snap
Then I’ll fall to the quickening ground
I’ll fall to the quickening, quickening ground
As my ankles break with a sickening sound
And my head will throb with a thickening pound
I will lie on the floor until, stricken, I’m found
When I am old, I’ll be fragile and frail
I will wither and waste, til I’m sallow and pale
And my head will explode with a shattering wail
And my brain will be splattering red
The walls, my brain will be splattering red
As a wail rings out from my shattering head
And the ground rises up as a battering bed
And the neighbours will cry, “What’s that clattering, Ed?”
When I am old, these will seem just as much of a novelty…
I like to explore love from different perspectives in my poetry. I’ve written love poetry from the viewpoint of a stalker, a medic, an ophthalmologist, an immortal universe hopper, a bottom, and many others that I hope to post here some day. This particular poem is written as a cannibal who has fallen in love with his dinner. Think Hannibal Lecter and Clarice Starling. It’s short and sweet and was originally written as part of an experimental collection of poems entitled ‘three lined, rapidly escalating, violent poetry’. I have no plans to post any of the others as they got a bit grim after a while. I consider the experiment a failure but I quite like this as it was the first and, I think, the greatest.
My Heart Felt You
My heart felt you
My nose smelt you
My oven melt you
I’m having a friend for dinner
I wouldn’t call myself a royalist. Most of the royal family can bog off for all I care. I’m certainly not interested in the next royal baby. I do, however, like the Queen. I can’t really explain why I like the Queen so much. She just seems so nice and regal in a granny kind of way.
What you have to remember about the royal family though, is that they’re just normal people born into a very different life. Just like us, they wee and poo and occasionally puke. If that’s not enough to blow your mind then picture this, sometimes the Queen is naked. Actually, don’t picture that. But you get the point.
The Queen is Sometimes Naked
A gentle soul, by whom we’re blessed
But even she might be undressed
Beneath her cool, British exterior
Lies a wrinkly old posterior
Once a day she takes a shower
Her clothes come off for half an hour
She stands there bare, though none shall see
Just the way our Queen should be
God Save the Queen(‘s blushes)
There’s a particular bathroom in my house that I like using because the blind on the window allows me to open one of the small slats and peer out into the street while maintaining my own privacy. I often just gaze at the people passing in the streets. People getting buses, people walking alone in the rain, people saying goodbye to each other, I’ve seen all sorts from my white throne.
One thing will stay with me forever though. I was doing my business one morning when I decided to peep through the window. What I saw that day was a funeral at the church across the road. The coffin had just arrived. It was being drawn by two beautiful black horses which huge plumes on their heads. A man in a top hat stood next to it. Everyone else had gone inside and left this man to a short moment of grief.
I dropped the slat and considered how strange the situation was. How could life and the world accommodate two such different events on the same planet, let alone the same road? On one side of the road, a scene of lonely, painful loss. On the other side, just metres away, a funeral.
I Pooped While Watching A Funeral
I pooped while watching a funeral
I watched through the window upstairs
The loo became browned
As they fell to the ground
And wept in their private despairs
Letting go can be so hard. That’s why I changed my diet.
Sometimes, all it takes is an offhand comment from a friend or loved one, or even a stranger, to change our entire outlook on something. The wonderful thing about sharing life with other people is that they think thoughts you never would. Taking a moment to see things from somebody else’s perspective could just alter your entire view of life. This poem is an exploration of that idea. There are actually two versions of this poem, the original and the one that I like to call ‘A Deeply Moving Alternate Version.’ Prepare to be deeply moved ladies and gentlemen.
A Change of Perspective
A Deeply Moving Alternate Version
Overcome with emotion